Located in Philipstown, New York, Manitoga was the home and studio of Russel Wright, a mid-century industrial designer. Today, Manitoga serves as a National Historic Landmark in the Hudson Valley and preserves Wright’s legacy.
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In 1942, Russel and Mary Wright stumbled upon the Manitoga property. Although the property was 75 acres, it was in rough condition from logging. But, this was a common condition for land within the Hudson Highlands. Russel and Mary acquired the land, and began designing their magnificent property with the theme of sustainability. At the time, only a few people designed homes with the concept of sustainability.
Between Russel and Mary’s concept of sustainability and woodlands, Russel created many intricate designs into nature. He even created a multi-level waterfall to create a new swimming pond from an old pit. Mary passed away in 1952, and Russel continued to build the home. The result of Russel’s continuous additions was a home and studio that were located right on the ledge of the home’s surrounding quarry.
There are two main permanent attractions at Manitoga: hiking trails and the house, studio, and surrounding landscape.
The hiking trails at Manitoga are open all year long. While they are nearby the Manitoga house, studio, and gardens, the buildings at Manitoga cannot be seen from the hiking trails. Anyone can explore the hiking trails at Manitoga, and are not required to follow a tour guide. There are five main hiking trails at Manitoga:
· Boulders Osio is a short and easy path.
· Chestnut Oak Osio is another short and easy path.
· Wickopee Loop is a moderate trail that crosses the log bridge.
· White Pine Loop is a moderate trail that crosses a stepping stone stream.
· Lost Pond Loop is the hardest trail at Manitoga and requires enough endurance to cross rocky and steep sections.
Aside from the hiking trails at Manitoga, visitors can explore the house, studio, and surrounding landscape. It’s important to note visitors can only explore the actual buildings of Manitoga with a tour guide. A tour guide will take you and your group throughout Wright’s home, studio, and gardens. It also should be noted this tour requires a lot of walking and a moderate hike, so be sure to wear a comfy outfit and pair of shoes!
Art and objects related to Russel Wright’s life and profession are typically displayed within the house or studio at Manitoga. These special attractions occur occasionally, so it is important to regularly check Manitoga’s official website for an updated list of current special attractions.
Nature in Design is the only special attraction currently at Manitoga. Nature in Design is a collection of dinnerware items Russel Wright and other designers made using Manitoga as the main inspiration. Throughout the 1950s, Wright would press flowers, leaves, and other items from nature into ceramics to create prototypes. Manitoga has yet to release the ending display date for Nature in Design.
Since the required guided tour at Manitoga is basically a walking history lesson, there are only a few educational opportunities at Manitoga. One of the most popular educational opportunities at Manitoga is the two-week summer camp that occurs annually.
Every year, fifty students aged five to 12 attend Manitoga for an intensive two-week summer camp during the middle of July. Campers participate in various lessons and activities that expose them to cultural awareness, nature, art, and STEM topics. Although campers are divided among age and grade level, many activities integrate various ages and skill levels. Campers are led and taught by renowned educator, Melinda Franzese. In addition to Franzese, campers will interact with guest staff and educators.
For more information about the summer camp and other educational opportunities at Manitoga, check out their official website, or contact them during their hours of operation.
Manitoga regularly hosts public and private special events throughout the year. Like the special attractions at Manitoga, the special events are continuously changing. So, be sure to check Maintoga’s online events calendar for more details. In order to get an idea of the typical public special events hosted at Manitoga, here are a few of the upcoming special events!
Landscape Workday allows volunteers to come together and trim and maintain Manitoga’s landscape. Everyone, regardless of their age and skill level, is encouraged to join the fun. This event will take place on April 22, 2017 whether it there is rain or shine. Lunch will be provided.
Sunset Tour gives visitors an exclusive and behind the scenes look at Manitoga and Wright’s life and accomplishments. Renowned architect Tom Krizmanic guides participants around an intimate trail within Manitoga. Refreshments will be served at Dragon Rock. The Sunset Tour will occur on June 24, 2017.
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